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US extending presence in Afghanistan not to affect security — former security chief

October 15, 2015, 21:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Earlier on Thursday, US President Barack Obama said the US would keep the current number of military, 9,800, in Afghanistan for the most part of 2016, and their mission would stay the same
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© EPA/Philippe E. Chasse/USA MARINE CORPS

MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. The US extending its military presence in Afghanistan will not affect security in that country, as US military are not training local military and in general don’t interfere in the political situation in Afghanistan, the former chief of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) told TASS on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, US President Barack Obama said the US would keep the current number of US military, 9,800, in Afghanistan for the most part of 2016, and their mission would stay the same.

"This is Obama’s political statement, and nothing more, as according to experts and Afghan people themselves, the US contingent doesn’t have sensible influence with the situation in Afghanistan, as they are sitting behind the fence, not going anywhere and not interfering," said Nikolay Kovalyov, State Duma’s deputy who once fought in Afghanistan.

He said US military "cannot influence the domestic political situation and security or support in some way the incumbent authorities, and neither do they train local military". "They fly from time to time on helicopters to ensure the safety of diplomats and American nationals," the Russian politician continued.

Whether the US contingent stays or gets reduced — it does not influence the political situation in Afghanistan on the whole," he said. "In view of a fiasco Americans are having in Syria, Obama does not want to show that the policy he pursues in Afghanistan has also failed in essence," Kovalyov said.

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